Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “failure”

See all translations


noun  /ˈfeɪl·jər/ us  

failure noun (LACK OF SUCCESS)

[C/U] a lack of success in doing something: [U] Their attempt to sail across the Atlantic Ocean ended in failure. [C] He was a failure as a businessman.

failure noun (SOMETHING NOT DONE)

[U] the fact of not doing something you should have done: [+ to infinitive] His failure to return her phone call told her that something was wrong.


[C/U] the fact of something not working as it should: [U] He died of heart failure. [C] The new computer system was a complete failure (= It did not work).
(Definition of failure from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of failure?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “failure” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


If something is derivative, it is not the result of new ideas, but has been developed from or copies something else.

Word of the Day

Lies, lies, lies!

by Kate Woodford,
February 25, 2015
​​​ According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More